The evidence is undeniable, profound, and growing.
Not many things regarding health (physical and emotional and behavioral) are more important than our ability to maximize the experience of taking in air. But, air is not all the same…not even close. Go to 10,000 feet elevation and you will have trouble breathing, thinking, moving. Why, because there is much less oxygen in air at that elevation.
Humans need oxygen and we need the highest quality oxygen, delivered to the deepest parts of our lungs. We need it filtered, heated, and fortified. Our culture talks more about high quality Olive Oil than we do about the quality of the air we breathe. We should be obsessed about it. Breathing is not dissimilar from nutrition in that all foods are not the same. A spinach salad with salmon is very different than a slab of pancakes and syrup. They are both foods but they will affect the body and mind much differently. The same is true with the air we breathe. We function at remarkably higher levels when we are breathing air that is highly saturated with oxygen (at least 95%). This only happens predictably when we are breathing through our noses. Mouth breathing is like eating pancakes and syrup.
An entire book could (and has) been devoted to the imperatives of breathing exclusively through the nose and not the mouth….never the mouth–not even during exercise but, suffice it to say that your body and mind will function markedly better if you have the many benefits of nose breathing. A short passage from James Nestor’s book, “Breath” says it accurately:
“No matter what you eat, how much you exercise, how skinny or young or strong you are, none of it matters if you’re not breathing properly.”
Observe yourself to see if you are breathing through your nose during the day and, perhaps more importantly, at night. Buy mouth tape (available online) and wear it during sleep to see if, in fact, you are breathing through your nose exclusively at night.
Tips to decongest the nose:
- Clean the sinuses/nose with a saline/xylitol solution. Xlear products are good and are over the counter. If your nose is severely decongested try Flonase which is now over the counter, or, any of the Xlear products which work well.
- Try using a humidifier at night to prevent low humidity. Dryness of the air is a major contributor to congestion. humidifiers are very inexpensive. I bought a good one at CVS for $19 and it takes up very little space.
See an ENT to determine if you have any nasal/airway obstructions. Fight for your airway the way you would fight against cancer. In turn, you will fight disease, viruses, infections,virtually all health problems, etc., (better) if you are using your nose for breathing exclusively. As a bonus, you will have straighter teeth, a more balanced facial structure, stronger jaw structure, and less likelihood for developing TMJ and sleep apnea if you breathe through your nose exclusively. You will be more cognitively sharp and energetic and creative if you breathe through your nose exclusively. You will be much less susceptible to depression, ADD, ADHD, and anxiety if you breathe through your nose exclusively.
Seriously question anything that reduces the size of your jaws or mouth…this means extracting teeth for orthodontic purposes or pulling your teeth back in your mouth (headgear). Find a dentist who is willing and trained and capable to expanded your arches to create a larger airway (and improved esthetics). Your general health depends on it…
It’s that simple. Not many things about health are that clearly defined. Just because you haven’t been hearing about it from your health professionals doesn’t mean it isn’t critical. For decades we didn’t think smoking was that bad for your health. We still don’t address sleep apnea (90% of people with sleep apnea go undiagnosed). Nutrition science is schizophrenic at best. It changes daily….not so with the importance of breathing exclusively through the nose. It’s verifiability ranks right up there next to gravity.
We see people on the streets who smoke and they are alive at that moment. We see people on the streets who drink excessively and eat tons of sugar or who are obese and they are all alive at that moment. We will also see people who breathe predominantly through their mouths or exclusively through their mouths when they are sleeping and, like the smokers and the food abusers, they will be alive too but don’t think that they are living healthy lives. They are likely all dealing with some chronic illness or a pending acute illness.
Don’t let your children go undiagnosed for chronic mouth breathing. Crowded teeth is a sign of a chronic health issue. Crowded teeth is not normal and it shouldn’t be dealt with by only straightening of teeth.
You wouldn’t drink water that had lead in it….similarly, don’t breathe through your mouth. Until a few hundred years ago no one did (that’s another story). No animals breathe through their mouths.
Fight like it’s your last breathe to keep your upper airway clear and…. breathe through your nose with your lips together.
Food for thought…